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Assessment Toolbox:Focus Group Design

Focus groups are a confidential group discussion with a trained and skilled moderator using open-ended questions that promote interaction and explore participants' perspectives and experiences in a structured by relaxed atmosphere designed to generate qualitative data. Check out the resources below for best practices.

Designing Relevant Focus Groups - Part I
Designing Focus Groups - part II

Focus groups:

  1. Are a qualitative research tool, which yields in-depth descriptions from a small homogeneous sample

  2. Cover the maximum range of topics

  3. Provide specific data about participants' perspectives and experiences as a basis of their attitudes and opinions

  4. Explore participants' experiences in depth

  5. Explore the personal context within which the participants offer their attitudes and opinions

Why focus groups are used:

  1. To gather data about how participants make meaning about a topic of interest (sole source)

  2. To gather data needed to construct a survey (exploratory)

  3. To gather data that can be used to help explain the results of a survey (follow-up)

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